Yesh Atid strategist: Positive campaign proved itself

Strategist Mark Mellman says Lapid wants to change politics, avoids negative campaigning.

March 12, 2015 20:10
1 minute read.

MARK MELLMAN . (photo credit: The Mellman Group)


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Yesh Atid’s rise in the polls is due in part to a decision to refrain from any negative campaigning, renowned international strategist Mark Mellman said Thursday in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

While other campaigns have engaged in three months of mudslinging, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid has made an effort to keep his campaign clean. Meanwhile, the party has consistently risen in the polls.

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“It’s a matter of principle for Lapid,” Mellman said. “He wants to change politics. One of the things people hate all over the world is negative campaigning, and he didn’t want to engage in that. Yesh Atid’s campaign has a very different tone than the rest, which are extraordinarily negative, even if they’re not always honest with their negativity.”

The Washington-based Mellman has spent the last three weeks in Israel helping the Yesh Atid campaign. Meanwhile, he is working on three other campaigns in the US and the Philippines.

He won international awards for Yesh Atid’s successful campaign in 2013 when the party unexpectedly won 19 Knesset seats. He strategized for the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton in 1992 and John Kerry in 2004.

“We Americans get a lot of practice at elections,” he said.

“Democracy is one of the few things we still export, and the practice helps. I thought it would be a longer time to the next election here, but I was wrong.”

Mellman noted that the Likud and the Labor Party traditionally tend to poll better than they finish in elections. He said his party would do better than the 12-14 seats media polls indicate, because Yesh Atid has invested its substantial resources in an effective operation for Election Day.

Mellman said he was surprised by the way Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handled the Likud’s campaign.

“I was shocked they don’t have a domestic platform of any kind. People expect you to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. They suggest people care about the security issue, and they do, but they also care about other issues – like the cost of living.”

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